Dangers of false advertising The Simpsons Crucible at 40 Bombay Bicycle Club
All The Young Cover and photo: Ed Miller
ll the Young joined Fuse in Interval’s beer garden for a fantastic live session and for a quick chat. Sat at a bench on an uncharacteristically hot day in early October, Ryan and Jack Dooley, from Stoke-on-Trent’s All the Young, are enjoying the last of the summer weather. Ryan’s signature, but nevertheless unnecessary, sunglasses are finally being put to good use. When it comes to musical influences Ryan says the inspiration comes from “bands that matter. “A lot of the bands that influence us have been headlining festivals this year but they haven’t brought anything out, they’re still at the top of the bill. There aren’t enough young bands that are stepping up to that kind of level anymore.” ‘For example Pulp headlined Leeds this year. And bands like the Cure, the Smiths. Just really
good bands that had something to say and spoke to people; I don’t think there’s enough of that around atthe moment’ It’s this ‘lack’ of young bands and an urge to say something themselves that the Dooley’s say drove them to form All the Young. “We kind of formed this band out the frustration of not having the band that we wanted” Jack says. “We made the kind of record we want in our collections. If I wasn’t in this band, I’d probably be sat at home waiting for this band.” It’s big talk from the Stoke based four-piece, but there’s a huge amount of determination behind the bravado. The band has seen increasing amounts of media attention resulting in them landing a support slot with Pigeon Detectives on their next tour. “It’s
a great slot to have” Jack says, “it’s just going to be rooms full of people who just want to see raw live music done right. I think we’ll have a really good time on that tour.” More recently, the band have been announced as supports for the Kaiser Chiefs UK tour too, which kicks off next year. Inevitably, a lot of people are waiting for an album. “It’s all been recorded, just needs to be mixed” Ryan reports. The album was recorded in Vancouver, understandably an exciting step for such a young band. “It was a really good experience, especially working with Garth [Richardson] you know? He’s just so into his rock music” Discussion quickly turns towards Garth’s father, Jack Richardson, who sadly passed away ear-
lier this year. Ryan and Jack talk excitedly about him, they seem genuinely honoured to have worked with Garth, and became increasingly lively as they talked about Jack Richardson’s recording achievements. “The pedigree of production was just...” Ryan jumps in before Jack could finish his sentence, “He was the man behind Guess Who... Garth taught us a lot.” For brothers they keep the bickering to a minimum. Brothers in bands have a bad history, from Oasis’ Gallaghers to Dire Straits’ Knopflers to The Kinks’ Davies. It’s not like that for All the Young yet though, apparently. “It may well change by
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY COMPETITION
Friday October 21 2011
The Paranormal Activity franchise continues with this third outing from Paramount Pictures. Oren Peli and Jason Blum return to produce the highly secretive feature, with Catfish’s directing duo of Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman taking on the helming duties. The film’s website is www.paranormalactivity3.co.uk
To celebrate the release of Paranormal Activity 3 (15) on October 21, Paramount are offering an amazing prize bundle. One lucky winner will recieve: DVDs of the first two Paranormal Activity films 1 x Official T-Shirt 1 x Poster 1 x Bottle Opener 1 x Pen All you have to do is answer this question: Q. In what year does Paranormal Activity 3 take place? Email your answer to Competition@Forgetoday.com by 6pm on Friday October 28 for a chance to win. Good luck! © 2011 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
album four. When the egos set in but at the moment we’re having a good time.” There’s definitely a lot of excitement around all the young at the moment. Even William Hill want a slice of the action and have tipped them at 33/1 to win the Mercury Prize next year; they haven’t even got an album out yet. Sam Bolton
On the Line: GHOSTPOET
Ghostpoet, or Obaro Ejimiwe as he’s known to friends and family, was nominated for the Mercury Prize earlier this year. On the back of his nomination he’s gone from strength to strength and as he embarks on his biggest tour to date, Fuse gave him a quick call for a catch up. Hello, so where are you at the moment? I am in Bedford. Got a gig here tonight as part of the tour and it’s a lovely sunny day Your album, Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam was Mercury Prize nominated; congratulations. How do you feel about the nomination? I feel good. It’s been a real roller coaster time of the year, I think. It’s been a really progressive year for me musically and being nominated was like the icing on the cake after a really productive year. It’s just great to be part of that history, something that I’ve always been interested in and always wanted to know who’s going to win it. To be part of that was just amazing and humbling at the same time. So, what do you make of PJ Harvey’s win?
say if it works or not, but it’s another musical avenue, and an opportunity to make something different. And I really want to, in time, progress that. Are you working on another album? Will we hear more stripped back stuff on there? No, well, I’m working on some stuff; putting some demos together. Not really fully working on another album on its own. But I think that could work on an EP or a project. Not sure if anything that stripped back would get on the album, but you never know. Never know what the future holds.
their stuff so I’ve been listening to a lot of that. I’ve been listening to a lot of Little Dragon as always, a lot of Hot Club de Paris’ first album, some old Tribe Called quest as well. Some electronic stuff. I’ve been listening to a guy called Pangea who’s got a new EP called Hex/Fatalist which I really like, a guy called Shlomo. People like that; individuals making quirky sounds. Well thanks for talking to us, we realise you’re a busy man. No problems, sir. Bye!
So what have you been listening to recently? Well at the moment I’m listening to a band called Tame Impala. I really like
Yeah, like I said at the time; I feel anyone could have won it. They were all amazing albums. Even PJ Harvey’s. Someone’s got to win it. I feel to be a part of it, is in a sense winning. You know? I didn’t feel like I was going to win and if anything I wanted to capitalize on the fact of being nominated and try to push my career as far as I can through that and through working hard, you know? We watched you do an acoustic performance online. Do you think stripped back performances like those work well with music like yours, which is very lyric focussed? It was never in my thinking to do such a thing. It’s not the sort of music I make, which is electronic laptop-based stuff, so I didn’t think it’d work. But it does work, but I very much feel like there’s room for improvement. I want to add much more instrumentation into it and really create its own kind of presence. So I think I wouldn’t
Words: Sam Bolton
support of his entire family. He’ll even be having the procedure done in Sheffield. Brendan Fraser will be thrilled.
complete a full marathon. He could have at least broken the eight hour mark though; even we could beat that. Fuse isn’t really surprised... that an American father decided to let his nine year old son drive
Fuse is impressed.... by the efforts of Fauja Singh. At 100, he is the oldest man ever to
him to the petrol station when he was too drunk to drive. Drink driving is illegal, after all. Fuse sympathises... with the Welsh rugby team. But the referee’s decisions wouldn’t have mattered if they could kick a rugby ball. 11 points dropped because of dodgy kicking… But it’s obviously the biased referee’s fault. Fuse is amazed by... how advanced penguins have become, as well as swim, talk and raise children they have now developed the ability to steal. Now whilst Fuse does not en-
dorse stealing, credit should be given where credit is due and a penguin who has learnt to steal is a true hero.
Fuse was interested to learn... mummification has made a triumphant return. A taxi driver from Torquay who sadly suffers from terminal cancer has volunteered to be the first person in 3000 years to be mummified, and has got the
Friday October 21 2011
Feature.THE DANGERS OF FALSE ADVERTISING Videogame trailers often promise more than they can deliver, and the result is often disappointment for gamers.
Words: Ellen Jurczak
powerful exploration of the horrors and ultimate futility of war. Not, as those of you who’ve actually
“Why do developers still feel the need to show us visuals that don’t represent the game they want us to buy?”
played the game will know, about being really good at shooting things. Similarly Dead Island’s infamous family holiday trailer, featuring a slow-mo, timehopping artsy account of a family’s island break being interrupted by rampaging zombies resulting in their sweet, innocent little girl being hunted down and ripped to shreds, made many gamers think the game itself would be full of similarly poignant, upsetting scenes when in reality it was more concerned with having you come up with new and inventive ways to hack zombies into little tiny pieces. There are many more examples. The first problem with trailers like this is that they seem, frankly, lazy. They are concerned not with showing off the best the game has to offer, but hitting emotional buttons in the easiest and often most clichéd ways possible (the sad music, the death of children, the infinite amounts of slow-mo) in spite of whether the actual game content is capable or even aiming to deliver anything similar. The second problem, then, is when a gamer picks up a game they believe to be about the futility of war or a story of love and loss or something else the trailer has claimed it will be, and comes away feeling cheated. Regardless of how good the game itself is in terms of gameplay or graphics, you’ll still feel disappointed if you were expecting something with more depth. But not every game requires depth. If a
Of greater concern still is when a game goes out of its way to advertise itself as one thing, only to be revealed as almost the exact opposite. One of the most well-known culprits is Gears of War. Their trailer depicts a ravaged world with our brave hero walking through it alone, pausing only to look with sadness upon the smashed face of a statue of a child, before being attacked and having to heroically battle his way out whilst ‘Mad World’ plays sombrely in the background. It suggests the game will be a moving,
Friday October 21 2011
t’s happened to all of us; a trailer comes on advertising the latest release, a videogame that looks like everything you could want and more, full of action, adventure, emotion and stunning visuals. Then those telltale words flash up at the bottom of the screen: ‘not actual game footage’. Of course, once upon a time, this was to be expected. Back in the day it was hard to get across the atmosphere and immersive world of a game with some footage of a little pixellated figure with a square head and cuboid arms waddling along a landscape that’s most distinguishing feature is ‘green,’ and so obviously we expected some liberties to be taken. But with today’s normal gameplay graphics having reached heights even cutscenes couldn’t have dreamed of a few years ago, it begs the question of why do developers still sometimes feel the need to show us visuals that don’t actually represent the game they want us to buy?
“There is nothing wrong with calling an action game an action game.”
game is only about being really good at killing things in imaginative ways, why not just say so? It’s not like being a pure, emotionless shooter hurts a game’s success – just look at Halo or Gears of War. There is nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade, or an action game an action game. Batman: Arkham City is a fantastic example of this. The only reason anyone really wants to play a Batman game is so that they can feel like Batman. So what does the trailer show us? A game where the player gets to be Batman. Where Batman beats the living daylights out of everyone he comes across. That’s what the game’s about and so that’s what we’re shown, and frankly I couldn’t be more excited.
“Some people want to play a game with depth and resonance; others want one where they can chop zombies into little bits.” But what about other games, which do actually attempt to tackle something a little deeper, whether it’s moral issues, more complex stories or creating engaging, three-dimensional characters? They should be allowed to advertise this in their trailers without being accused of the falseness many now expect because of the bad example other games have set. In this way, then, these deceptive adverts are harming the chances of other games, not to mention the way non or casual gamers think of the medium. By creating these emotional, often rather ‘arty’ trailers, the developers appear to be trying to prove to the masses that videogames are more than just violent, soulless splatterfests, they seem to simply prove the point of every naysayer by releasing games no different to all the violence orgies that have come before. There are games out there that want to do more than this, that are actually ca-
pable of creating heartrending moments rather than simply playing emotional chords in trailers which then in gameplay amount to little more than a half-hearted attempt to make us care for a character’s death that often feels forced and painfully wooden. Few will have felt the death of stoic grunt number three, but many a grown man will admit to shedding a tear when Aeris was killed in Final Fantasy VII, or welling up at the ending of Red Dead Redemption. So then, how are these games that are genuine in their depth meant to show it when surrounded by so many that aren’t? Part of the issue lies in the nature of the trailers themselves. Game designers treat videogame trailers like they’re advertising the latest Hollywood release, and many tropes from the world of cinema are evident. Instead of trying to speak to gamers through the language of film, they should try using the language of videogames. As the previous examples attest, there is a unique and potentially very powerful medium, not about creating a series of mini movies with pauses in the middle where you get to shoot things, but about the merging of gameplay and story to create something mentally, emotionally and physically engaging. Many games are doing just this but this isn’t in any way obvious from the kinds of trailers currently being wheeled out to supposedly highlight the best the gaming world has to offer. What it comes down to for gamers is a matter of personal preference. Some people want to play a game with depth and resonance, tales of loss and love with relatable, complex characters; others want one where they can run around chopping zombies into little bits and making things explode. Either is completely fine, the issues arise simply when a game developer lies about which category their game falls into. Either they start telling the truth in their trailers, or put ‘not representative of actual game content’ at the bottom of the screen.
‘Last Exit to springfield’ First broadcast March 11 1993
Despite being the longest runn ing animated si tory, The Simpso tcom in TV hisns has been me t with almost un cism since the tu animous critirn of the millenn ium. Amidst rum series’ unprece ours that the dented 25th se ason will be its forget how acc last, it’s easy to laimed, imagin ative and dow the show was in nr ight hilarious its prime. Sam Holden and Jake us through five Wardle take of the very be st Simpsons out us how the sho in gs to remind w should be re membered.
‘And maggie makes three’ First broadcast January 22 1995
hat always set The Simpsons apart from its imposter rivals was its ability to connect on an emotional level, and this episode embodies fully the axiom that a truly brilliant programme has the capacity to make us both laugh and cry. This episode shows Homer at his ab-
‘homer at the bat’
First broadcast February 20 1992
solute best; his imaginary battle with terrorists (and his victorious announcement of “Simpson 10 – Terrorists 8”), playing Mr Burns’ head like a bongo after quitting his job and his detailed re-enacting of Maggie’s conception. Homer’s shortfallings as a parent are well documented, yet this episode displays the sacrifices he is willing to make to his own life to provide for his family. Although resentful at first, seeing his daughter for the first time (initially mistaking her for a son due to the umbilical cord) makes him realise that his child is more than just another mouth to feed. The closing scene where it is shown there are no pictures of Maggie in the family photo album as Homer keeps them at work is exemplar of The Simpsons at its most touching. For anyone who needs reminding why The Simpsons at its best renders modern episodes so groin-grabbingly disappointing and why it will be eternally greater than Family Guy, ‘And Maggie Makes Three’ serves as a forceful reminder. SH
‘homer the heretic’
First broadcast October 8 1992
n a world full of touchy subjects, there are few more contentious than religion. So an episode in which the lead character decides life without church is simply too good to ever return, and then precedes to disown his religion entirely, was always going to be a hard sell. But not when it’s handled with such humour, affection and a healthy appreciation. No one side of the argument is ever given more credence than the other.
‘deep space homer’
First broadcast February 24 1994
can idol?” But it’s easy to forget that, even in its prime, the show was still occasionally guilty of this. So what’s the difference? If you really need to answer that, then look no further than ‘Deep space Homer’. It’s ridiculous. The premise, essentially, is that in an effort to boost TV ratings for its launches, NASA starts a search for a blue collar American to send into space; a search ending with two men from the same town, obese drunks, entirely unfit for space flight. And yet, despite this complete abandonment of logic, the episode is brilliant. The movie references are brilliant; the guest spots (including one Buzz Aldrin) are brilliant. It’s just brilliant. The recurring joke of Homer constantly being overlooked in favour of an inanimate carbon rod is fantastic. It can be silly without being lightweight, unfeasible while still making you care and, most importantly, it can be plot-heavy but still funny. JW
ne of my central criticisms of post-millennium Simpsons is its near total reliance on zany antics -a zany main plot, a zany side-plot; zany characters, invariably voiced by zany celebrities. Writing seems to be based entirely around a gimmicky “what if?” mentality. “What if Homer became an opera singer?” “What if Lisa went on Ameri-
Never too critical, never too preachy, ‘Homer the Heretic’ tackles a potentially explosive subject with such characteristic charm and insight that it has been reportedly screened in schools as part of religious studies courses. But it’s more than just ‘the religion episode’. In fact, ‘Homer The Heretic’ is one of the very best. Not because of its subject, nor because it contains some of the best jokes in the show’s history, but because Homer is so perfectly exemplified in those first few scenes. The lovable combination of good nature and stupidity has made him this show’s most popular character, and he is put across so perfectly in this episode that it could never be anything other than perfect. This was the show at its peak, never putting a foot wrong and tackling any subject and any idea with such grace. That is why I believe The Simpsons was the greatest television show in history, and I don’t see that changing for a very, very long time. JW
Friday October 21 2011
elebrity guest appearances in episodes were once something to be revered in The Simpsons, a far cry from episodes of late when virtually anyone who constitutes as a celebrity is so often clumsily and lazily thrust into a story which simply doesn’t concern them. No less than nine then-professional baseball players guest star in this episode, but it pays dividends as their cameos perhaps set a benchmark for future guests. They manage to maintain their individual identity without sacrificing any of the integrity of the episode, and provide many fantastic moments, from Daryl Strawberry informing Homer of his superiority over him despite having never met, to Mr. Burns’ bewildering qualms with Don Manningley’s hair. The outlandish circumstances in which the players fall victim to separate misfortunes and the corresponding ‘Softball’ song at the end are endemic of how The Simpsons, at the height of its powers, could flirt with surreal ideas yet stay grounded in reality. SH
his episode is near-perfect on a number of levels, perhaps better than any other. It highlights how brilliantly The Simpsons once used cultural references to compliment a story while maintaining a timeless quality. Compare this to a lazy over-reliance of more recent episodes - usually full of trite popular culture references that become obsolete immediately after broadcasting. The episode fea-
tures nods to the Beatles, The Godfather, Citizen Kane, Batman and, when Mr Burns decries his employees’ ability to sing without “flunjers, capdabblers and smendlers”, The Grinch. Every scene is immaculate, from Mr. Burns discovering a stray dog in the rickety control room of the Nuclear Power Plant after going through numerous levels of high-tech security, to the cyclical repetition of “Dental Plan” and “Lisa needs braces” in Homer’s brain. The episode premise is simple: Homer is unknowingly thrust into a battle between his union and his employer over a cancelled dental plan, yet it is the superb execution which sets this episode apart from a definitive series. The episode ends with Mr. Burns realising that perhaps Homer Simpson was not the brilliant tactician he once thought; modern episodes of The Simpsons induce a similar feeling of disappointment after watching an episode such as this. SH
Five of the best. THE SIMPSONS
Feature. CRUCIBLE AT 40 Since the 1970s the Crucible has been the centrepiece of Sheffield’s theatrical heritage. Renowned for its thrust stage and hosting of the World Snooker Championships, the theatre was the brainchild of renowned theatre designer Tanya Moiseiwitsch. Under the stewardship of Artistic Director Colin George the theatre opened its doors in November 1971 for an evening of entertainment entitled Fanfare. 40 years on and countless productions later, the Crucible is as successful as ever. The celebrations have been under way throughout the Autumn season, culminating in the launch of Sheffield People’s Theatre and the interactive theatre experience, Fanfared.
Friday October 21 2011
Happy birthday Crucible, here’s to another 40 years.
Cherry Orc Fiddler on the Roo f 2006
8 9 1 n u F Good
ARTS Friday October 21 2011
Crucible Theatre 197
Twelfth Night 1987
Words: Tim Wood
Interview. Bombay Bicycle Club
t seems we’ve caught the band at a bad time; they’re all desperate for food - planning on going to Piccolinos by the sounds of things and our first question, unfortunately, is about food.
Friday October 21 2011
Apparently their namesake, the restaurant chain Bombay Bicycle Club, has gone into administration. It’s a shame, as bassist Ed tells us about being treated to a meal in their early years: “We sat down with the owner, and his assistant, and we had a meal with them. They were lovely.”
Of course, his dry humour pops up as he laughs about the lack of competition on Google now, “Yeah, we won that battle. But I think we still get tweets from people saying their curry’s late.” Drummer Suren is a little quieter, but perks up when talking about their music. He seems to be looking forward to touring newest album A Different Kind of Fix, admitting, “Basically we didn’t really tour either of the first albums, much at all; particularly the second one, like the only touring we did for that was a two week UK tour. “And that was it…which obviously isn’t very much, but yeah, with this album I
think we’re going to tour it quite a bit more extensively. I’m sure we’ll have a little break when the touring’s done.”
less for the three of us - me, Ed and Jamie the guitarist – there’s less for us to do, playing stuff from that album.”
Musing on their reputation as a hard It seems the fans are, for the most part, working band, Ed notes, “Three albums happy with whichever direction the in three years is quite hard. band chooses to go. Ed and Suren are pleased with the reactions they’ve re“I can’t think of anyone who’s done ceived for all of their albums, but Suren three albums in three years, apart from does admit: people like, you know Iron & Wine? I think he does something like that, like “I’m sure some people have been a bit confused by it; like people who were smaller artists or solo artists.” fans of the first record, and then coming Like any band, their favourite album is out with Flaws, our second, acoustic-y their newest one, but as Ed eloquently album, that probably confused them. explains, “I guess everyone’s going to say that, but it’s what we’ve been work- “And also, there are probably people ing on for the last year, and it’s what’s that heard…the first thing they heard from us was stuff from Flaws, and now the most current. they’re hearing this, more rock-y stuff from us, they might be a bit shocked.”
“It’s probably best not to try and please everyone”
At this, Ed chimes in with “We’re pissing off all camps,” sparking laughter from everyone in the room. It’s nice to see that they’re relaxed about their “Obviously we’re not going to think it’s achievements, and yet there’s a kind of the worst one, because you always try stoicism that suggests they’re wise beto progress, and it is the best progres- yond their years. sion from the other two albums.” Ed backs up Suren, adding, “You can’t Suren agrees, but adds: “I still listen to please everyone at all, and it’s probFlaws, but playing-wise, there’s kind of ably best not to try and please every-
‘We’re pissing off all camps.’ Fuse caught up with Bombay Bicycle club at the O2 Academy to talk about curry, the new album and getting thrown out of Sheffield.
one; we’ve just been releasing these albums as we saw fit, kind of, doing what we wanted to, and people, as Suren said, for the most part people have liked what we’re doing. “We occasionally get people saying that they don’t like the new stuff, or they don’t like Flaws or they don’t like the rockier stuff, but...you’re gonna get that with everything really.”
to do, to give me time to think about a subject that would suit me more. I think I’d like to go in the future, but if I went when we had the chance to before, I think it would have been a terrible idea.”
“The police got our ball back”
art of A Different Kind of Fix. Based on some of the stories they have to tell, it seems that some experiences are more educational than others. “We’re banned from some hotels,” laughs Ed. “And we actually got kicked out of Sheffield, as a whole. Do you want the long story? It doesn’t reflect well on us. We were playing with a rugby ball, outside a venue, you know The Leadmill? And then we threw the ball, and it hit a bouncer’s car, and then the bouncer was looking, and he confiscated our football.
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Friday October 21 2011
Instead of being in their final year of university, Bombay Bicycle Club are instead about to embark on their biggest tour yet. Instead of feeling pressured though, the Londoners are more than ready, as Ed claims, “No, we’ve “We got in an argument with them, and stepped it up; we’ve stepped up our things escalated, until one of our party called the police. We were hammered. show and our production. And the police turned up, and we said “As the venues have got bigger, I think it that we’ve lost our ball, and we wanted just works...If we were playing the same our ball back, at which point they were Ed is a little more unsure than his band show we were two years ago, we’d feel like... the police got our ball back, and mate. He says “I’m glad, actually. Af- a lot of pressure and we’d probably be told us to get out of Sheffield. Maybe ter sixth form the next logical thing to shit. But we’ve got a lot of new stuff.” don’t put that in.” do is go to university, and it’s kind of Suren also notes that “It’s only really on expected of you at that age...and I, at this tour that we’ve started integrating Sorry guys; with a story like that, there’s that time, wouldn’t have wanted to go [Flaws] a little bit into the set, because no way we’re not putting it in. Judging by the looks of things, Bombay Bicycle to university at all, but it would have we found it quite difficult before.” been the next thing to do and I would Club may be young and having fun, but have gone, and done a subject that I Clearly, they’ve been building on their the quality of their music speaks for itdidn’t want to do. experiences over the last few years; to- self. They might not manage to keep up night, the stage at the O2 Academy is their yearly output, but we look forward “So I’m glad that we had something else adorned with faces lifted from the cover to whatever they come out with next. Their wisdom extends to what life would have been like without Bombay Bicycle Club too. For such a young band, they’ve clearly thought about how their lives could turn out, with Suren admitting, after thinking about friends who went, “There is always going to be a part of me that wishes I was there, that I had gone to university.”
Words: Coral Williamson
Rizzle Kicks Stereo Typical Island Records 6/10
Friday October 21 2011
ou’d be forgiven if you’re expecting Rizzle Kicks debut album to be a mainstream-friendly foray through largely inoffensive hip-hop. You’d be forgiven, because you’d be largely right. The duo originally hails from Brighton, but it was during their time at the BRIT school that they started working on music together. Not a wholly unsurprising revelation that the pair attended the legendary college; their music may be completely different to fellow alumni Jessie J, The Kooks or Adele, but the appeal is somewhat similar. Stereo Typical is packed with fun sampling, interesting scratching and is swimming with the cheeky appeal you’d expect from a couple of teenagers. Whilst on the surface this sounds great, it never gets much deeper than a light-hearted pop album. Having said that, it never really pretends to be anything more and as far as light-
Father, Son, Holy Ghost Fantasy Trashcan / Turnstile 9/10
ven if you stop yourself comparing Father, Son, Holy Ghost to its predecessor Album, Girls’ second effort is an impressive collection of songs that can easily stand on its own merits. As soon as the rollicking surfpop of ‘Honey Bunny’ opens the record, it’s clear that this is no ‘difficult’ second album for the San Francisco duo, as Owens sings out over the Beach Boys-inspired melodies, “They don’t like my bony body / They don’t like my dirty hair”. Clocking in at just under an hour, Father, Son, Holy Ghost is an epic of sorts, with several of the songs being over five minutes. There’s a sense of self-indulgence in parts, as Girls see fit to do what they want with many songs – but then, why shouldn’t they? ‘Die’ for example, though somewhat bluntly titled, begins as a sprawling instrumental, behearted pop albums go, it’s more entertaining than most. Lyrically this should be the sort of album to excel; unfortunately though, it falls flat on its face far too often. Occasionally there are moments of inspiration, as on the album opener ‘Dreamers,’ where Rizzle sings “We aim higher than Mariah in a choir.” It should be cheesy, but it’s actually pulled off with a surprising degree of confidence that’s difficult to not find endearing. Too often the content is either completely banal, or just repetitive. But perhaps this is less the result of sloppy song writing and more to do with what happens when an album gets dragged out to 14 very similar tracks. Whilst Rizzle Kicks first fulllength might not be the most sophisticated record to hit shelves in recent years, there’s enough energy and humour to hold your attention. And every so often it packs a pleasurable surprise. Sam Bolton Follow us on Twitter @ForgePressMusic
It All Starts With One Balloon Ranger Records 8/10
ne thing’s clear: Norwegian singer Ane Brun is vocally eccentric. Her virtuosic range and impeccable timing make her latest album It All Starts With One more of a majestic experience than your typical LP. Haunting opener ‘These Days’ instantly proves its worth. Lyrics like, “You found your way into my bones, my joints and my veins,” evoke deep emotion. The echoing organ and stripped down instruments work exquisitely throughout the entire album. ‘Do You Remember’ is the lead single, and it’s obvious that most of the 35-year-old’s musical and emotional efforts have gone into this Gaelic-inspired chant. The chant needs little more than a tom drum to jump out of its pounding skin. ‘What’s Happening With You and Him’ speaks deeply about betrayal; it bears resemblance to the ‘no bullshit’ attitude once adopted by Kate Bush in her early work. A guest appearance from José González is unfortunately a low point of the album. The song isn’t badly written but González
ith the abundance of new releases each week, it can be difficult to sift through the shit in search of the gold so Fuse has handpicked some of the musical highlights for you. We want to congratulate local band Hey Sholay for making it onto the BBC Introducing playlist of Radio One. ‘Wishbone’ is a brilliantly rousing slice of psychedelic pop, and their national play is well-deserved. They were amazing playing at Sheffield’s Tramlines Festival earlier
sounds mundane and apathetic. The two could potentially work so well together to create some fantastic sounds using his bass and her vibrato voice. Criminally, this is neglected. Tristan Shorrock
Samantha Crain You (Understood) Ramseur Records 6/10
pener ‘Lions’ is an endearing listen; one which feels like snuggling up to your better half on a Sunday afternoon, watching Alan Titchmarsh with a cup of Horlicks and Valium. Following the strong opener, ‘Blueprints’ is a standout track; it feels a little Rosie & Jim, and the this year and we’re more than happy they’re getting their name known elsewhere in the UK. If you’re a 10-year-old child star with a top 10 hit, how do you follow it up? Willow Smith has surprised us with ‘Fireball,’ her newest dance floor filler. It features Nicki Minaj at one point claiming “I’m the Street Fighter, call me Chun-Li” over a heavy bass beat and the chorus, “I’m the fireball of the party” is wedged firmly in our heads. Fortunately, we can keep our musical integrity intact by writing about Cut Copy’s remix of Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘Doors Unlocked and Open’. Death Cab will soon be releasing a remixes EP, tak-
fore Owens barks out over the distortion. Stranger still is the track’s dissolution into a gentler, almost folk strand of psychedelia. It’ll definitely have you checking twice to see if you’re listening to two different songs with a seamless switchover. Part of the self-indulgence of the album is that it’s almost impossible to pin down to one genre. The strangeness of ‘Die’ is followed by the sad, country-tinged ‘Saying I Love You’, which is followed by the even more melancholic ‘My Ma’, in which Owens’ wounded vocals add to the intimacy of the song, as he sings “Oh God, I’m so lost.” Album closer ‘Jame Marie’, as well as ‘Vomit’, add to the personal themes of the album, having both been written by Owens after a break up. In a way, this only adds to the greatness of Father, Son, Holy Ghost. There are few bands today who can borrow so easily from the past and yet create something personal, original, and above all brilliant. Coral Williamson nostalgia lulls you into a dreamy shoegaze trance. Unfortunately, most of the album hums along with a similar feel until penultimate track ‘TwoSidedness’. Here, the distortion is comparable to downing a bottle of Drops Vodka and simultaneously getting clocked in the jaw by Mike Tyson. You know, if it was a sound and not a deathwish. ‘Up On The Table’ midway through the album is a bouncy singalong track, which breaks up the quivering wails of some filler songs. Elsewhere, ‘Santa Fe’ whips out a predictable banjo, but in a more genuine “I actually lived on a farm” kind of way. Its reverent content and mellifluous harmonies are truly enjoyable. It may be old-fashioned, but for those who like a standout, climactic finish to an album, You (Understood) is a slight disappointment. Closer ‘Toothpicks’ is aesthetically confused, with awkwardly plucked stop-start riffs, and what can only be described as wet flannel vocals. It’s a shame because Samantha Crain’s sophomore album is good, if a little average: at its worst you could say that it’s so ‘middle of the road’, it is practically a central reservation. Mike Walmsley ing tracks from the phenomenal Codes and Keys and reworking them, later this year, and this Cut Copy rework is the first to be released. It turns the original track into a chilled dance anthem. Our plan is to leave it on repeat until we get the rest of the EP.
eNter Shikari 02 Academy
Sunday September 16
more cynical viewer might suggest that the audience for an Enter Shikari gig would consist primarily of teenagers. It was impossible to ignore the sheer volume of 16-year-olds in skinny jeans at the O2 Academy, coming out in force to, as frontman Rou Reynolds put it, “get rowdy and bounce”. Reynolds pleaded for the crowd to not be “a stagnant generation.” In a way similar to Green Day or Sum 41, it seemed his comments only served the purpose of whipping up the crowd, and they sounded void of real meaning. Attempts at profound political thought aside though, the evening was reasonably entertaining. New material was marginalised as the set drew heavily from their first two albums; however, Take to the Skies single ‘Jonny Sniper’ was conspicuous by its absence. The on-stage antics were the gig’s most entertaining element. Reynolds clambered across the stage to run along the top balcony of the venue, high-fiving fans as he went.
Reviews.LIVE The crowd were appreciative to the point that, while awaiting the encore, they eagerly repeated lyrics from ‘Enter Shikari’: “And still we will be here / standing like statues.” They returned to the stage with ‘Juggernauts’, which was a highlight of the performance, though an attempt to incorporate dubstep fell flat as it didn’t suit their heavy, up-tempo sound. In fact, their attempts to incorporate remixes and reworks of album tracks seemed to break up the flow of their set, and on this occasion backfired. Although Enter Shikari’s performance was reasonably entertaining, their music seemed to be lacking substance at times and while the gig was well received by an enthusiastic crowd, there simply didn’t seem to be any originality in the material. Enjoyable for the hardcore fans, but offered little to the lay viewer. Pete Woodward More reviews online Read more reviews online at: www.forgetoday.com
Enter Shikari’s Chris Batten hulking out: Mark McKay
The Violet May The Leadmill
Saturday October 8
Monday October 10
tastic opportunity to see both Daniel Stephens and Joe Ray DJing live together. Past gigs have seen only half the duo performing their well-known tracks. From when the bass hit with the first track to closer ‘Guilt’, the hits never stopped. Alana Watson made a memorable appearance to sing ‘Promises’ and ‘Crush On You’. The crowd’s response was to ‘illegally’ climb on each other’s shoulders to get a better view of the enchanting vocalist. Nero’s light display added to the incredible atmosphere in Foundry. The mechanic stage effects, alongside the dubstep and d‘n’b duo’s synchronised moves timed perfectly with the music resulting in an ecstatic crowd. Nero’s performance was mesmerising and would rival even the most intense festival performance.
Tuesday October 11
Mazes: Talie Eigeland
he Tuesday Club’s 13th birthday was a sellout. People in the apprehensive queue were being pestered to sell their tickets to other devoted drum and bass and dubstep fans. To start the party were Tuesday Club residents DJ Andy H and Mikey J, who were joined by up-and-coming MC Ad Apt who clearly appreciated the enthusiastic crowd. As fans pushed forward to the news that Nero would be on stage in five minutes, the crowd became an absolute battleground, with many claiming their rightful place at the barrier as reward for queuing since 8pm. One poor girl screamed at bouncers to pull her out as she wasn’t prepared to go to hospital now having survived freshers’ week. For die-hard fans, it was a fan-
Whitaker providing a solid pallet for the band to work upon. Thrusting his fist angrily into the air with every beat, disconcertingly hammering the microphone-stand into the crowd and, at one point, even giving up on the stage completely and throwing himself into a mosh-pit, chucking both audience members and beer into the air; McClure was, without doubt, the main entertainment. The mood was electric and nearly all of that was due to McClure’s boisterous charm (and occasional violence) but despite his charisma, McClure’s vocals often became a mess, leaving the audience with nothing to hold onto but a clutter of odd words. As they finished, The Leadmill seemed to breathe out a sigh of relief. It had been a wild 45 minutes and The Violet May had only left the crowd wanting more.
Friday October 21 2011
azes are a curious mixture of garage pop, sloppy indie and late 90s TV show intros. They claim that sometimes they rehearse, sometimes not and that sometimes they’re all on stage and other times, well, members randomly go missing. Tonight, only three quarters of the band get to The Harley’s stage sporting ripped denim and curtains of hair. The performance is surprisingly clean for a band that plays so much with its own spontaneity; you can only assume that they have some sort of superior musicianship to keep it all so neat and tidy. There’s an end of summer melancholy to the performance, a light-hearted, ‘nothing really matters’ sort of atmosphere. We’re treated to a hand-
The Violet May: Joanne Butcher ful of catchy riffs but the tunes aren’t really designed to last and apparently that’s not what Mazes are seeking to achieve anyway. It’s reminiscent of postholiday boyfriend-girlfriend issues that leave you unsure of whether to laugh or cry. Those familiar with their songs are made very happy, the rest are relatively less enthusiastic. Maybe it’s a bit late in the year for this sort of thing. The elements are there but for some reason the sparks never ignite. A little before the end of the evening, lead singer Jack Cooper surprises us by switching guitars and things get distinctly more energetic. With intros that sound like national anthems, a couple of more memorable melodies on top of distorted guitar riffs and a suddenly audible bass line, Mazes begin to win us over and we wonder why they didn’t choose to start with this.
onight, The Leadmill played host to an exquisite line-up of The Hope Explosion, Wet Nuns, All Mankind and Sheffield’s own The Violet May. Greeting the audience with cool, keyboard-riddled rock ballads, All Mankind sounded as sophisticated as rock can be. Regrettably that comes with the inevitable similarity to Coldplay and a feeling that the audience wanted to sing along to U2 lyrics that simply weren’t there. As the set went on however, the band seemed to relax, moving into rockier territory and dropping the safe, placid ballads for an electrifying, bass-driven second-half. Following All Mankind’s performance, the room began to fill again; the front row brimming with excitable drunks and rowdy fans.
One by one, The Violet May walked onstage, the lead singer Chris McClure swaggered on fashionably late, and they belted straight into their first track. The band had named this gig, “The Big One” and as they dived head-first into a warp of explosive rock ’n’ roll, it certainly felt they were right. The sound was unapologetically loud and undeniably catchy. The audience thrashed about to bouncy rhythms, head-banging away with the manic McClure. Unfortunately the keyboard was drowned in the mix, leaving it almost redundant. For the most part, it didn’t matter. The band seemed effortless in their musicianship, sitting comfortably alongside the pedigree of Sheffield talent. The Violet May had complete control over the crowd, perfectly blending hard rock with softer, more psychedelic tunes, thanks in no small part to drummer Alan
Dir: Shawn Levy 9/10
hen sitting down for a film whose director has brought us such unspectacular films as Night at the Museum and Date Night, it’s understandable to enter Real Steel with reserved expectations. Needless to say, whatever has gotten into mediocre director Shawn Levy, let’s hope it never goes away because he has completely redeemed himself from his back catalogue of substandard comedies. Real Steel throws us into the near future where robot
boxing has become America’s favourite sport. We follow the story of Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), an ex-boxer who, following the downfall of human boxing and consequently his career, is now trawling back alley venues as a robot fighter. His life takes an unexpected turn when his ex-girlfriend dies and events leave him with an 11 year old son called Max (Dakota Goyo) he has never met and has no interest in. With an old sparring robot called Atom they find in a dump, the two embark on a journey to make a name for themselves. What it looks like we are getting here is another tried and tested formula: downon-his-luck guy gets a big break; classic underdog makes
it to the top, with a little longlost son thrown in to make the protagonist come to some heartfelt realisation. Oh, and robot fights, can’t forget about those. Well, to be perfectly honest, that is pretty much what you get, but the difference between Real Steel and every other movie of its type is that it just does it all so well. Jackman’s character development from the surly, self absorbed, borderline alcoholic to a moderately responsible empathetic human being is gradual enough that it doesn’t feel superficial; Goyo puts in a ballsy performance, mirroring the characteristics of his father. Hard-nosed, witty, and stubborn as hell, he creates a brilliant dynamic that is both comical and
heart warming. The fights themselves are dynamic, intense, and highly enjoyable, but then again we are talking about fighting robots, what’s not to like? Even still, they are well choreographed and the variation of each robot means that no two fights are the same and you will find yourself bobbing and weaving along in your seats. Every robot is completely distinguishable from one another with unique builds and colour schemes, avoiding the headache inducing whirring and overdone complexity seen in Transformers. The machines are mute and take on the characteristics of those controlling them, relying heavily on the movements during fights to bring them to life. This is executed with great success and
really holds the film together. Particularly Atom whose uncanny human movements make him instantly noticeable, allowing the audience a greater sense of empathy. When Atom is in the ring, you can’t help but root for him and his relationship between both Max and Charlie along with hints at his possible autonomy draw interesting comparisons between the three characters. There really is nothing bad to say about this film - it is one of the most enjoyable experiences for a film-goer. It is well paced, brilliantly cast, and beautifully directed. Audiences of all ages will be grinning like idiots for two hours at this must-see dramatic action experience. Dominic Powell
Footloose, but with iPods, and to be honest, taking the already cringe-worthy ‘80s song-anddance movie and trying to turn it into a feature length episode of One Tree Hill was never going to end well. Surprisingly, the acting is all passable with everyone turning in a decent performance, particularly preacher’s daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough) who comes out on top as the girl gone certificate 12A wild. However, Dennis Quaid’s Reverend Moore falls short as the villain and instead comes across as a bit of a pushover right from the start, making you wonder how he ever got the whole town under his thumb in the first place. Despite its mostly good performances, Footloose doesn’t bare any moments of real drama or grit and at times is so wholesome it smacks of Disney’s squeaky clean touch. All the digestible drama aside, this modern take works best when
the time comes for its impressive dance sequences. These dance set-pieces, including a line dancing scene and some stellar angry dancing/ gymnastics, make for the most enjoyable moments of the film. If only there were more of it. The problem with Footloose is that it doesn’t know where it stands. Its attempts to revamp the original with a modern twist fall short and there wasn’t nearly enough dancing to warrant it a “dance flick”. Footloose isn’t bad, it just isn’t better than the 1984 Kevin Bacon film, and it’s hard to see any reason to pay to watch this when the only real addition is better dancing, and there really isn’t much of it. However, this remake does provide one valuable life lesson: listening to Kenny Loggins will ultimately end in a horrific car accident. Elliot Hardman
Friday October 21 2011
Dir: Craig Brewer
t’s time to cut loose with Footloose, the story of the small American town of Bomont where dancing, drinking, loud music, and all other miscreant behaviour is banned by the town’s strict religious law. However, dance enthusiast and coincidentally handsome Ren MacCormack (Kenny Warmald) moves down from the big city with the aim of changing the law, and bagging himself the preacher’s daughter while he’s at it. Footloose is a remake of the 1984 cheesy classic and honours its roots with Kenny Loggins’ accompanying track ‘Footloose’ in the opening sequence, showing the tragic death of five teenagers in a car accident that drove the small town into pressing the mute button. Essentially this ‘is’ the original
Dir: Morgan Spurlock 7/10
organ Spurlock is probably best known for putting his blood pressure on the line in Supersize Me to bring us the radical notion that McDonald’s may not be that good for you, but this time he has turned his focus to the world of product placement. In true Spurlock style he does this not with a shocking exposé, but by leaping into the issue head first, by funding the entire movie through, you guessed it, product placement. He tells us that all the biggest films have co-promotions with an array of products, from fast food to fast cars, so sets out to make the “Iron Man of documentaries” by doing just that. For this reason the film has two sides: Spurlock’s quest to gain funding by approaching potential investors, such as POM Wonderful pomegranate juice and Sheetz fast food (I hadn’t heard of
boardwalk empire Season 2 Premiere: “21” Sky Atlantic/HBO 8/10
oardwalk Empire has returned to Sky Atlantic with its second season and it continues to deliver a sordid depiction of Atlantic City during the Prohibition era. The show focuses on the corrupt politician Nookie Thompson, played by the brilliant Steve Buscemi, as he struggles to maintain control over his lucrative liquor empire. The show has one of the largest budgets in television history and this is matched by its ambitious plot. During the first episode, many themes such as race, religion and class are all explored, which has led some critics to argue the series tries to do much. However, the main purpose of the show is to entertain the viewer. With glamorous speakeasies
Cult Corner. Napoleon dynamite
who converse with Spurlock about the sinister world of advertising and product placement while in a Sheetz, as he sips on a bottle of POM Wonderful. This film, while not exceptional, delivers another hit for Spurlock, succeeding as both an informative documentary and an entertaining comedy. Its goals are not as obvious, and messages not as powerful, as his other documentaries, but it is sure to satisfy fans of Supersize Me.
and attractive characters, the show is aesthetically striking and it provides a perfect hour of escapism into the ‘jazz era’. Arguably the greatest achievement of the first season was to link the numerous sub-plots that occurred in each episode. Already in the first episode of season 2, characters are portrayed as plotting for power and prestige, leaving the viewer to question where their decisions
will take them. The intricacies of the script can be attributed to Martin Scorsese, director of Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, who acts as executive producer. Scorsese’s trademark lust for violence can be seen throughout Boardwalk Empire, with the body count reaching five before the first 10 minutes are over. A special mention must go out to Stephen Graham who plays the
infamous Al Capone. British viewers will be familiar with Graham after his terrific performances as Combo in This is England. In Boardwalk Empire, Graham transforms from a terrifying scouser to an arguably more intimidating ItalianAmerican gangster. Although he gets little screen time during the opening episode, his aggressive performance demands the viewers’ attention. Ciaran Davis
quotes, not necessarily from any story driven set pieces. Filmed on a budget of $400,000, it’s a miracle this film is as good as it is, and after making a $44 million profit, it stands up incredibly well against Hollywood blockbusters with 20 times its budget. The unknown cast makes for a completely original film in which, admittedly, almost nothing actually happens but, equally, nothing really needs to happen for the cast to shine. Arguably, the slow pace and minimalist acting just highlights the more over-the-top performances. For example, an entertainingly ridiculous Uncle Rico (Gries), whose dreams of being a high school football star are still strong, serves as a counterpoint to perhaps the funniest (and most quotable) character of the film, Kip (Aaron Ruell). As both Kip and Pedro excel in
getting girls, Napoleon is left in their geeky dust until a skit for Pedro’s High School presidential campaign (where the “Vote for Pedro” t-shirt comes from) provides the film with its most upbeat comedic moment. It’s perhaps this sense of optimism that the film leaves you with that makes Napoleon Dynamite such a success. Not a success that is laugh-out-loud funny perhaps, but wonderful to watch and quote, in any case. Just watch out for those ligers.
ut nothing actually happens! There’s no plot! is an often heard remark after a viewing of the 2004 classic Napoleon Dynamite. Well, to be honest, it’s a fair criticism. Napoleon Dynamite is by no means a shining gem, but it’s certainly one of the best, most under spoken comedies of the decade. Napoleon Dynamite follows the story of title character Napoleon (Jon Heder) as he struggles to make his way through high school in Preston, Ohio - the town that time seems to have forgotten. With Volkswagen camper vans and big sleeves galore, it almost feels like a ‘70s film, which actually provides Napoleon Dynamite with some of its best laughs. Be warned, it’s probably not a film that you will love first time round; most of the film’s fun comes from the repeatability of its
Also Watch Dark Star (1974) - Speaking of low-budget comedies, John Carpenter’s Dark Star is full of plenty of existential computers and beach ball aliens.
ET OVER HERE! Just after we went to press for the last issue, we heard possibly some of the best film news in living memory. And it wasn’t the whispers that Zack Snyder is considering a sequel to his Dawn of the Dead remake, nor was it the announcement that Die Hard 5 will be called, wait for it, A Good Day to Die Hard. No, dear readers, the earth-shattering news of which we speak is that we’re getting a new Mortal Kombat film. New Line Cinema have just bankrolled a reboot of the film franchise, so come 2013, Liu Kang and co. will be bicycle kicking across multiplex screens all over the world. Now, if that doesn’t set your blood a-pumping, let us clue you in to why Mortal Kombat and its sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation are two of the most enjoyable films since the silent era. Note how we didn’t say “best” there. The Mortal Kombats are, without doubt, poorly scripted, poorly directed messes that well deserve their places in many of the “Worst Films Ever Made” lists scattered across the net. But, like a Balti King after Pop Tarts and just as messy, the Mortal Kombat movies are a pleasure of the guiltiest kind. The “script” is infinitely quotable and unintentionally hilarious as is the awkward fight choreography. Simply put, if you don’t enjoy Mortal Kombat, you don’t have a soul, or Shang Tsung probably already stole it. So who is the mastermind behind 2014’s Oscar winner for Best Picture? None other than Kevin Tancharoen. Who? We asked the same question and had to check our good friend iMDb to figure out just who the hell he was. Turns out he’s probably the most qualified person to be directing a Mortal Kombat reboot. With such cinematic gems as Glee: The 3D Teenage Hormonal Extravaganza and Fame in his repertoire, his Mortal Kombat has the potential to be as bad as, if not worse, than Paul W.S. Anderson’s masterpieces. One anticipates a flawless victory. TW/TF
in schools and TV shows. However, there is plenty here to satisfy Brits too thanks to the film’s laugh-out-loud humour and examples of product placement from global blockbusters like Minority Report and I, Robot. Plus, like with Supersize Me, we can get a smug sense of satisfaction from thinking “at least we’re not as bad as that”. One also can’t quite help the feeling that the people being set up to look foolish in the film are not the businesses but the antiproduct placement interviewees,
Friday Friday October October 21 2011 7 2011
Dir: Jared Hess Year: 2004
them either), and interviews he conducts with the likes of Noam Chomsky, Quentin Tarantino, and Donald Trump, as well as industry insiders, in order to hear their views on product placement in films and TV. Like Supersize Me there are plenty of laughs along the way (look out for Mane and Tail shampoo and Ralph Nader plugging some made-in-China footwear), with a smattering of shocking facts and a number of genuinely interesting insights into the advertising industry. On top of this he goes to a variety of pitches and business seminars where he is told to look for his own “brand personality” and identify his “brand collateral” in scenes that wouldn’t look out of place in The Office. Spurlock uses his Hollywood contacts to amass an impressive number of highprofile interviewees, but their contributions are brief and don’t add much to the film. There is also a feeling that the content of the film is slightly more applicable to US audiences, particularly in the sections that address advertising
The greatest movie ever sold
eing named one of the must play games of the year and winning more than 20 E3 awards, Rage has got a lot of hype to live up to. With titles such as Doom and Quake under their belts it’s hard to imagine creators ‘id’ releasing a FPS that didn’t have something to bring to the table. But with the modern FPS becoming increasingly monotonous, can Rage really break the mould? We begin in a post-apocalyptic wasteland ruled by bandits and the mysterious authority…with factions of society fighting for supremacy, including mutants. Sound familiar? It’s fair to say that Rage has taken a few hints from Fallout
Friday October 21 2011
et another year, yet another FIFA. After 12 months of cherished service, the fortunes of FIFA 11 have quickly switched as, within a day, it’s become an antique. Replacing the old version with a “better” one is a tough task. However, any suggestion that FIFA is losing it’s appeal can be discarded after 3.2 million sales worldwide in it’s opening week. Of course, sales of a long running franchise are hardly indicative of quality. No matter how bad FIFA 12 was, it would still have been successful financially. The subject lends to such a release pattern too. As the football world rapidly changes every transfer window, it is very easy for it to become outdated. Whilst this lends itself to yearly sequels there’s also a danger that the developers EA could quite easily disguise FIFA 12 as a new product by adding the latest kits, transfers and increasing the amount of hair on Wayne Rooney’s head. Thankfully, great credit can be given to the makers for the excellent changes making it the most rewarding FIFA so far. Immediately apparent when playing, are three main changes: new ‘Precision Dribbling’, the player impact engine and tactical defending. It is the latter of these changes which is most immediately noticeable. In FIFA 11, tackling was simply a case of holding buttons to make defenders automatically sprint towards the ball. In FIFA
and Borderlands, either that or it’s an unfortunate byproduct of a five year development cycle. In fact, replace the game’s catalytic asteroid with nuclear weapons and Rage could be Fallout’s little brother. Your mute character wanders through the wasteland blindly obeying any task he is given by the wasteland’s local residents (this is essential to advance through the game). Apparently the word ‘no’ was wiped out with the asteroid collision. But perhaps we got off to a bad start. Rage does give the player a wide range of side missions to choose from, all earning you different perks and cash that help you to upgrade your character. There is a certain amount of satisfaction in completing a side mission which involves running into an enemy base, slaughtering everyone in sight and being rewarded with a huge amount of cash with which you can upgrade your armoury and do it all over again. It’s the simple things. The graphics are some of the best seen in any console game to date, thanks mostly to the revolutionary “mega texture” technology that allows id’s artists to paint each nook and cranny with unique and varied textures. Animations are also impressive. Enemies glide over the screen in movements so 12, timing is everything. Defenders cannot run around in circles, mindlessly chasing the ball. It now asks you to keep your shape and only tackle when near the ball. While this is incredibly difficult to master, and will probably cause high scoring games to begin with, it does add a much needed and rewarding challenge. Get your tackling wrong and the player impact engine takes over. Adding realistic and gratifying collisions, until the system goes a bit “Gazza” and behaves erratically. Dribbling is more realistic with ‘precision dribbling’ giving further control to players in congested spaces, a feature I’d argue the series didn’t really need. These changes are incredibly important to building on what was already a very polished game, and certainly play their part in making FIFA feel fresh, at least for the first week or so. Despite the positive additions it feels similar to last year’s game. FIFA 12 is a step forwards but not a leap. In the world of yearly sequels that’s no surprise. Tom Rosebury
realistic it seems more like you’re watching a film than playing a game. It also helps that the game runs at 60FPS, a benchmark most developers consider unnecessary. But yet again Rage shoots itself in the foot. Don’t get into the habit of saving the game every 5 minutes and you could be thrown back in time by 2 hours, only to face the prospect of taking on the hordes of mutants you just slayed. Seriously, what’s wrong with checkpoints? However, most importantly, does the game fulfil its role as an FPS? Definitely. The AI dodges and weaves through your gunfire, cleverly using cover and a mixture of tactics, providing a challenge for even the most hard-core gamers (especially as there are 4 difficulties to choose from). With a huge variety of weapons at your disposal you can be as inventive with your killing as you wish, stealthily sneaking up on the enemy and decapitating them or
choosing a more simple approach and storming in all guns blazing. A large arsenal of weapons are supplied to you early on in the game giving you all the necessary tools to take out your enemies. The driving sections of the game provide a means for getting around and provide a brief respite from killing, breaking up the game nicely. The sensitive controls take a while to get used to, but once you get the hang of it you can choose to blast bandits off the road using your mounted weapons, or win races to gain vehicle upgrades. Rage is a game for shooter fans, especially those who enjoy a post-apocalyptic setting. id may not have created something as consistently brilliant as Doom or Quake, but it has crafted a rollercoaster ride full of headshots, explosions and mayhem. And after all, that’s what id do best. James Comer
Proper story’s supposed to start at the beginning. Ain’t so simple with this one,” says an unknown voice amidst a vivid backdrop of debris and chaos. The debut title from indie game studio Supergiant Games, Bastion exemplifies as good as any game the benefits of having such a small, dedicated team. Bastion is an isometric adventure RPG that pits the silent protagonist against a world torn apart by an unknown force and a wide array of enemies, both colourful and challenging. Each step you take helps rebuild the world, but also brings you closer to the dark truth behind it. The game mechanics are deceptively simple; you progress through a series of levels as challenges are unlocked after you gain each new weapon. Combine this with lush, unique hand-painted levels, a thematic soundtrack and an everpresent narrator to immerse you in the game world and you have something special. The narrator is by far the most striking aspect of the game, annotating the history and culture that lays destroyed around you, in real time. Gameplay styles are also reflected in the narrator’s words, leading to a few unnerving moments as your post-apocalyptic vandalism fails to go unnoticed. Whilst the character customisation and levelling systems should be familiar, the difficulty system is rather the opposite, linking directly to the game’s narrative: vengeful
gods can be invoked to make your life more difficult if you so choose, but you can still play without. However, for those so inclined, you’re blocked from replaying levels in the same play-through, forcing you to focus on the linear storyline. Bastion’s length depends on how you choose to play it. For the casual gamer, the main storyline should keep you satisfied with money spent, but it’s in the side missions that the game shines. Much of the back story to the silent protagonist and those he meets along the way can be found by facing optional challenges, and the New Game Plus feature allows you to replay the game with your gear retained and a level of higher difficulty. The main story is underpinned by themes of arrogance, innocence and betrayal, adding a humanising depth to the overall plot arc. For those willing to think about their gaming, it’s hard not to have your heartstrings tugged by the time the credits roll in. Bastion is unique. It’s not perfect but the team at Supergiant Games have crafted something so original that it’s easy to brush such imperfections under the carpet. Just beware of the narrator as you’re doing so. Adam Harley
nline passes are becoming all the rage in the videogame industry, and it’s no surprise. Cash strapped consumers, including us students, want to save money wherever we can, and used videogames as well as rentals are a much cheaper alternative to forking out £40 with every new release. This is the problem. Publishers receive no money from used games sales, or repeated rentals. In the world of spiralling development costs this can be financially crippling for some studios. To try and incentivize buying the game new, rather than used, some publishers have taken to including single use online passes which lock out large chunks of content to those who fail to redeem them. Some games lock out complete online components, such as Battlefield 3 and Fifa 12, whereas others lock out large chunks of important content such as Batman Arkham Asylum’s online pass that controls whether the user has access to Catwoman in the main story. Of course consumers who don’t buy the game new can still access these exclusive parts of their purchase, but they’ll have to pay extra for the privelage. There’s a big ethical question telling potential fans of your franchise who’re none the wiser to your financial struggles to pay seperately for crucial parts of the overall experience. Buyers of Batman might not be too distraught to know they can’t play as Catwoman, but buyers of Battlefield who’re told they can’t play multiplayer should be rightly disturbed. That’s like buying a KFC and being told to pay extra for the skin. As someone who wants the industry to be as healthy as possible I’m stuck in two minds. I don’t want studios to close because of the greedy practices shown by retailers, but I don’t want to be restricted from FIFA’s online component when I borrow my housemate’s copy. What do you think? Ellen Jurczak Arnold Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian Breakwell: The Other Side
One Day When We Were Young
of profound sadness and indeed laugh out loud humour are convincingly conveyed. My only slight concern was that these emotional changes were often abrupt and could have made more of the subtle, poignant intricacies of the play. Set over three scenes, each marked by the return of his and hers dressing tables to the centre of the stage as each character changes costume in preparation for the next chronological transition within the play. Clare Lizzimore’s direction is as intelligent and effortless as the acting that is consistently delivered through the play. Her adaptation is insightful; drawing upon childhood imagery that strengthens Payne’s juxtaposition of the past, present and future. The play seeks to challenge whether the past can ever simply remain in the past and takes a refreshingly realistic stance on how idealistically we can assure promises. Music is employed throughout each scene; indeed the play itself takes its title from a composition by Johann Strauss. Equally, sound design from Adrienne Quartly subtly reinforces the progression of time from Gracie Fields, Coldplay, Will Young and eventually concluding at Adele. Overall, One Day When We Were Young is a dynamic and energetic opening to the Sheffield Theatre’s Roundabout Season and is well worth a visit to see.
Studio Theatre 8/10
utumn in Sheffield witnesses the work of some of the UK’s finest prevailing writers. As part of the roundabout season held at Sheffield’s Crucible Studio Theatre played host to playwright Nick Payne’s debut One Day When We Were Young. Set between the years 19422002; prior to, during and after the mass social impact of World War Two, the play is centred upon the changing relationship between the lead characters Violet and Leonard. Within this time-frame, Payne documents the evolving nature of their love and the inevitable obstacles they face throughout six decades of rapid personal and economic change. Staged on a purpose built circular structure at the Studio Theatre, the play is complemented by the intimate atmosphere contained on such a small set. With an audience of less than 150 people all, of whom are directly facing the stage, it is difficult not to become immersed within the intense exchange of dialogue. The cast, which is comprised of Maia Alexander and Andrew Sheridan, forms an integral part of this as both deliver compelling and sincere performances throughout. It is to their credit that elements
The Art Deco severity of the building combined with the cosy stereotypes of a seaside town, from seagulls to sea shores, starkly exposes the mortality and melancholy of the people and the places that Breakwell depicts. The permanent, subtle contentment of the dancers only adds to the prominence of the Pavilion, creating another dimension of stuffy anonymity and human transience. Museum Sheffield carefully adds to the airless and inescapable atmosphere of the film by gently leading its visitors into the dark and over-sized room where it is playing, which suddenly seems jauntily fixed on at the end of the large exhibition space.
The gentle rhythm of Franz Schubert’s slowed down Nocturne in E-flat Minor glides us into the main room, creating a relaxed sense of security that dissolves with the development of the film. As you begin to reach the end of the sequence, transfixed by the combined ease of the lingering music, dancing and sunset, and the sequence begins to start again with the same mesmerising allure, the endless loop of time, energy and eventual demise becomes the ultimate metaphor for human existence. Despite the deception of a disastrous end, as the film plunges into an abrupt darkness to the sounds of breaking glass, crashing waves, and squealing seagulls,
the start of another sequence and the audience’s desire for its continuance always remains. Even with its melancholic overtone, The Other Side still retains an endearing and infectious romanticism that makes it a timeless and age-transcendent piece. As the Tate opens its Tacita Dean exhibition this week, celebrating film as an art form and the increasing demise of so many mediums we have grown to use and love, The Other Side tells a tale that is both trapped within its medium and circumstance, yet ultimately universal and unbound.
approval of his foster father. Under a great thought by the director, the production took on a modern twist, the young Mr. Jones dressed in contemporary clothing and with a humorous soundtrack (maids dancing around the pantry to Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’) which was necessary to connect such a classic story with a 21st century audience. Another brilliant twist was the purposeful setting of Sheffield for the first act, as well as a large portion of smaller characters carrying strong Yorkshire dialects. This certainly helped to increase the appeal of the few comic runs the show embarked on. Notably the majority of the big gags were carried out with flair and originality by the goofy innkeeper Susan (Rosie Dyson) who opened the second act with a brilliant sketch; with fornicating runaways and their long-suffering families running amok around the inn. However, the comic moments were a little too far between for a production that promised such a
riotous affair. Unfortunately, the lines were hideously overacted by some members of the cast, with a particularly wooden performance given by young Tom’s love interest, Sophia. The script delivered in terms of a whimsical social commentary on the contrasts between the gentry and Yorkshire working classes. The difficulty of enacting a rape scene on stage however, was not too much for the well rehearsed cast, and the scene was delivered with due care and earnest; the intensity of the scene contrasting brilliantly with the joviality of the general production. Tom Jones attempted to make an 18th century text accessible to a modern audience, and due toM an original and contemporary adaptation, this was certainly achieved. However, for a production that promised so much in terms of humour and riotous entertainment, Mark Feakin’s cast fell a little short.
University Drama Studio 4/10
efore you get too excited by the title, oh loyal Forge reader, this is nothing to do with the 71-year-old sex god. The West Midlands players, under the creative and contemporary direction of Mark Feakins, performed a modern adaptation of Henry Fielding’s 18th century novel, Tom Jones, at the University of Sheffield Drama Studio. The play was advertised as a saucy, riotous romp and if by ‘saucy’ they intended to allude to the protagonist’s lack of shirt for the majority of the production, they were spot on. The charismatic and charming protagonist gave an engaging and entertaining performance as the kind-hearted but lustful young man, Tom Jones, on his quest across Yorkshire to win his love Sophia and the
There is something simultaneously tasteless and unfitting, yet resonant and pertinent, about Breakwell’s overtly self-conscious use of the Pavilion as his narrative showpiece. It carries a sense of mystery and sentimentality that only closely avoids succumbing to cliché, and eventually begins to befit the tone of Breakwell’s exhibition. As the audience starts to realise that the sun is slowly setting on the evening, on the town, on the couples and, inevitably, on the viewer, the Pavilion’s dramatic panoramic windows, looking out onto the washed up shore and the sunlit sky, express a much more peculiar tone.
Friday October 21 2011
ou may be forgiven for anticipating that an exhibition displaying elderly couples ballroom dancing at an East Sussex seaside resort would be less than exciting. But it is precisely this element of simplicity and banality that makes Ian Breakwell’s multifaceted exhibition so enthralling. Set in the sleepy seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, Breakwell’s nostalgic montage was commissioned during his year-long residency at the De la Warr Pavilion. The imposing centrepiece of Modernist architecture in the town that features as the main protagonist of his film.
Fancy a Trip?
BFI Film Festival: October 27 @ locations around London; All Day; £10.50-£30
The BFI London Film festival is the UK’s largest public film event, screening more than 300 features, documentaries and shorts from almost 50 countries. The festival showcases the best of world cinema to champion creativity, originality, vision and imagination, and presents the finest contemporary international cinema from established and emerging film-makers. Set in the Autumn, the festival hosts high profile awards, contenders and screens recently archived films. If you can make it film fans, make sure to check it out.
All films are shown in the Students’ Union Auditorium. Tickets cost £2.50 and can be bought from the Union Box Office or Union Shop. Saturday October 22: Thor; 7:30pm The epic adventure Thor spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the centre of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, he learns what it takes to be a true hero.
Sunday October 23: Hanna; 7:30pm A teenage girl who has the strength, stamina and the smarts of a soldier. Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe while eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own. As she nears her ultimate target, she faces startling revelations about her existence and unexpected questions about her humanity. Friday October 28: Beginners; 7:30pm Cult director Takeshi Miike delivers a bravado period action
film set at the end of Japan’s feudal era, in which a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne. Saturday October 29: Insidious; 3:30pm/7:30pm It’s not the house that’s haunted. Insidious is the story of a family who discover dark spirits have possessed their new home and that their son has inexplicably fallen into a coma. Trying to escape the haunting and save their son, they move again only to realise that it was not their house that was haunted.
Fuse’s four for the fortnight Equus by Peter Shaffer: Saturday October 22 @ The Drama Studio; 7:00pm; £6
Lee Nelson’s Well New Tour: Saturday October 22 @ City Hall; 8:00pm; £22.50 Created by Simon Brodkin Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show is based around a happy-go-lucky chav and his opinions on the world. The show has been running for two series now on BBC three and has gained quite a following. Brodkin now brings his character to Sheffield, with his new Well Good Tour. Described by Nelson himself as being: “bigga, betta and even funnier than my last tour and a lot fatter coz this time I’m bringing my best mate and fat legend omelette” Expect plenty of laughs and a fair amount of audience participation as the happy-go-lucky chav attempts to entertain you. The show is likely to be popular so make sure to get tickets early to avoid disappointment.
Friday October September 21 16 2011 2011
As he nears the end of his career, psychiatrist Martin Dysart is suddenly confronted by the fascinating case of Alan Strang. He is fought over by his religious mother and atheist father, and something drives him to blind six horses with a metal spike. To understand Alan’s brutal crime, Dysart must uncover secrets about his parents, his childhood and his relationship with a stable-girl, and the psychiatrist finds himself paradoxically in the witness box. A savage and passionate play that drives us all to question what it is that makes us human.
No Uniform Presents James Blake DJ Set: Friday October 28 @ Plug; 10:30pm; £9 No Uniform is always looking for the next big thing to bring to Sheffield, and with a DJ set by James Blake at Plug they may very well have found it. Very few words are needed to describe James Blake first 12 inch vinyl, his rise to prominence has been very quick. His second 12 inch, which featured ‘Limit of My Love’ pushed Blake to the forefront and the release of his debut self titles album earlier this year, which has already gained a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize and has made him one of the most sought after artists of the year.
Crucible 40th Birthday: Throughout November @ Crucible Theatre; Evening Performances ; £12-25 The Crucible’s 40th Birthday will be celebrated though a variety of performances that showcase the theatre’s rich history and positively anticipates its future. The Sheffield People’s Theatre will be launched this summer with open auditions for local residents aged 12+, with a view to nurturing the local talent and aspirations of creative people within the region. Its first production Lives in Art will be showcased in November; a humorous and moving comedy piece that looks at how art affects our everyday lives. October will stage the Roundabout Season in partnership with Paines Plough Theatre Company. Featuring three new plays about real life subjects such as love, life and the world, Lungs and Untitled will be performed in-the-round in the Studio Theatre.